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June 27, 2017

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Xi, Trump to meet in Florida on April 6-7

BEIJING -- President Donald Trump will meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for the first time on April 6-7 at Trump's Florida resort, China's foreign ministry announced Thursday, amid a range of pressing issues from trade, to North Korea and territorial claims in the South China Sea.

The future relationship between the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economies has been uncertain following the election of Trump, who accused China during his campaign of unfair trade practices, threatening to raise import taxes on Chinese goods and declare Beijing a currency manipulator.

It is unclear whether Trump will follow through with either threat. He is now seeking Beijing's help in pressuring North Korea over its nuclear weapons and missiles programs. China is the North's most important source of diplomatic support and economic assistance.

In February, Trump reaffirmed Washington's long-standing "One China" policy in a call with Xi, in an apparent move to ease concerns in China that he might use Taiwan as leverage in negotiations over trade, security and other sensitive issues. The policy, in place since 1979, requires Washington to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that Xi would meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, without providing any more details.

It is the same Florida resort where Trump hosted and played golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February. Xi, a fan of soccer and other sports, is not known to play golf.

Before arriving in the U.S., Xi will pay a state visit to Finland from April 4-6, Lu said.

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